Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 23, 1998
Last Updated :
March 1, 2018
The Passing Of Reverend Billy Graham, Abide In Your Calling, Worldly Evangelists And TV Preachers, Dangers Of Materialism, Pastors And Politicians: Deadly Mix, Billy Graham And Nixon, A Deep Compromise By Preachers And Churches, Overcome By The World, Popular Or Persecuted?, Children Of The Light, Billy Graham's Alleged Masonic Association, We Will All Be Held Accountable Before God, Beware Of Internet Rumors, Exposing Doctrinal Errors, Strive For Unity Within The Body Of Christ
This series is an update to an original article which I first wrote twenty years ago in 1998. It concerns the world renowned American evangelist, the Reverend Billy Graham, and other issues which are related to popular evangelists. It was just a week ago on February 21, 2018, that Mr. Graham passed away at the ripe old age of ninety-nine, due to natural causes, according to news reports. Currently, both the mass media, as well as the Internet, are filled with commentary regarding Graham's passing. Some of it offers high praise for Billy Graham, while other commentary is quite harsh, and condemns him due to some of his personal beliefs which he expressed over twenty years ago.
As many of you will already know, over the course of his life, Billy Graham was known for drawing literally thousands upon thousands of people to his evangelical conventions worldwide. In addition, many millions more either heard him, or watched him, via various electronic media. In fact, I recall that as a young Christian boy quite a few decades ago, I was greatly impressed by those events which were broadcast nationwide on American television. Perhaps it was partially due to Graham's televised conventions, that in later years, I also dedicated my life to the Lord.
From that time until now, due to the course which my own life has taken, I have paid very little attention to the ministry of Mr. Graham, or even to the ministries of other well-known American preachers. Other than being familiar with some of their names, I know very little about most of those radio, television and stadium/auditorium evangelists. This is due in large part to the fact that I believe that each servant of the Lord should abide in their own ministry, and concentrate their efforts on doing their best for the Lord. As you may know, this is precisely what the Bible instructs us to do, as we can determine by the following verses:
"Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand."
Romans 15:20-21, KJV
"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called . . . Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God."
1 Corinthians 7:20, 24, KJV
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."
2 Corinthians 10:12-18, KJV
"But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision."
Galatians 2:7-9, KJV
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Philippians 2:12, KJV
Having said that, if I were to make a general statement regarding other Christian ministries, based on what I have heard and seen during the past few decades, it would be that while I feel that some of these men are probably doing a lot of good for the Kingdom of God, many others have become too distracted by the lights, cameras, big money and politics. They've become too worldly, too commercial, too materialistic and too political in their evangelical approach. Sadly, many of these men are also preaching doctrines which are clearly not backed by the Scriptures in the least. I discuss some of these topics in the article "Money-Making Bible Hucksters and Mammon".
As the regular readers of my articles are probably already aware, my views concerning participation in secular politics are rather different from the views of other more worldly preachers. As I explain in my various political discourses, my belief is that as Christians, the Lord has called us out from the world, and told us not to touch the unclean thing. We are not to associate ourselves with, or to mingle with, the unbelievers of the world any more than is absolutely necessary in order to get the job done. Of course, that job is primarily to win souls to Jesus Christ, so that should be our main objective when we do mingle with the children of the world. It shouldn't be to go out and drink and party and have fun. Consider the following verses which confirm this point:
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:19, KJV
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:14-18, KJV
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
James 4:4, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15-16, KJV
"No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:4, KJV
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Colossians 3:1-2, KJV
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
John 17:14-15, KJV
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36, KJV
"And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away."
1 Corinthians 7:31, KJV
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18, KJV
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24, KJV
"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Luke 16:13, KJV
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:"
1 Timothy 6:6-14, KJV
It seems rather obvious to me that some of these American evangelists have done the exact opposite. They have gone too far to the extreme in their attempt to win souls to Christ; even to the point of compromise. Some of these pastors and preachers seem to think that by becoming involved in worldly affairs, and by associating themselves with high-profile politicians, and maybe even by running for political office themselves, they can change the American political system from the inside. This includes men such as Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham, the eldest son of Billy Graham, who is also the heir to his father's ministry.
Ironically, Franklin Graham -- and other evangelicals -- is doing the exact opposite of what his father had advised him to do. As some of my older readers will recall, back during the early 1970s, Billy Graham became involved in quite a cozy political relationship with President Richard M. Nixon, who was later disgraced, and forced to resign from office due to the Watergate scandal. Graham was not left unscathed by the incident, and later embraced the position that it is not wise for the Lord's servants to become too enmeshed with politicians, or to engage in partisan politics. In fact, in a 2011 interview with the Christianity Today magazine, Mr. Graham stated the following in retrospect:
----- Begin Quote -----
"I also would have steered clear of politics . . . I'm grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn't do that now."
----- End Quote -----
Quite frankly, I just don't believe that Christians at any level becoming engaged in American politics is going to change the deep corruption which exists within the U.S. government. In my view, the system is already too far gone. Instead of these evangelists changing the government and system of the United States, it seems to me that the rotten spirit of modern American politics is overcoming and even corrupting some of them instead. Just like the Scribes and the Pharisees of old, some of these charismatic television and stadium preachers compromise their message, and become more concerned with the opinions of men, instead of being faithful to the full, true message of Jesus Christ, and pleasing God first.
Sadly, many of the 501(c)(3) churches -- that is, tax-exempt churches -- are doing the very same thing in order to keep their tax-exempt status. In other words, they are becoming menpleasers instead of God pleasers. They tone down their message and lose their spiritual effectiveness. They are overcome by the very same worldly spirit against which they fought when they first began their battle in the Spirit. Tragically, and to their shame, some of them are even now ordaining sexual deviants as priests, ministers, pastors and bishops, as well as blessing same-sex relationships. It is unbelievable how far some of them have fallen into deep apostasy from the faith. There can be no compromise here. There are no neutrals. Either we overcome, or else we are overcome. Consider the following verses and be warned:
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
Romans 6:16, KJV
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning."
2 Peter 2:19-20, KJV
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21, KJV
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
1 John 4:4, KJV
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33, KJV
I also discuss this topic of being overcome by the world in the series "Have You Been Slain in the Spirit?". As the Lord Himself said in the previous verse, because He has chosen us out of the world, the world hates us. It doesn't like us. It does not love us. It doesn't accept us. It in fact hates us. This is becoming more evident with each passing year as the Children of Darkness become ever more bolder in their wicked defiance against God. As I explain in "Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution", Jesus, Paul and others told us that if we remain true to the Gospel message, we will be hated, persecuted, and possibly even killed. In some countries -- such as certain Muslim countries -- our Christian brethren are already being persecuted, incarcerated and killed.
One thing is for certain. If we really preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ without compromise, we won't ever become rich, powerful and popular like some of these modern evangelists who hobnob with high society, and preach a watered down gospel of compromise. If these people aren't suffering and being ridiculed and persecuted for their Christian beliefs, somewhere by someone, then perhaps there is something wrong with their message. If they are being fully embraced by the the American government, then perhaps there is something wrong with their message. As we saw earlier, there can be no communion or fellowship between the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness. Consider these verses as well:
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me."
John 15:20-21, KJV
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2 Timothy 3:12, KJV
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:"
2 Timothy 2:12, KJV
The ungodly people of the world do not like those of us who endeavor to live godly lives dedicated to the Lord. If we are full of God's Truth through the knowledge of His Word, then as Jesus said, we will be similar to bright lights which shine on the darkest recesses of their lives. Their sins will be exposed through the words that we speak, and especially through the godly lives which we try to live. As a result, they will think us odd, and they will hate us for it. Once we come to the Light, we are of the Light, and we can no longer walk in Darkness. From that point forward, we must do the works of Light to show the world that we are truly the Children of Light. Consider the following verses:
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16, KJV
"No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."
Luke 11:33-36, KJV
"And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."
Luke 16:8, KJV
"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
John 3:19-20, KJV
"While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them."
John 12:36, KJV
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
"For ye were sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light."
Ephesians 5:8, 11-13, KJV
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
Philippians 2:15, KJV
"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, KJV
"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
1 John 1:5-7, KJV
I also discuss this topic regarding the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness in articles such as "The Children of Light: Are You One of Us?". I highly recommend that you read it as I believe it will be an inspiration to your heart.
This now brings us to one of the main points of this series, and it concerns a statement which I made at the beginning of this series. Twenty years ago, I was involved in an online discussion with a particular person who claimed that Billy Graham was a thirty-third degree Mason. In fact, now that Reverend Graham is deceased, this very same claim is being resurrected by certain individuals, such as on a number of the social networks in which I participate. This charge is based upon a purported list of famous Masonic members, which is said to have been posted on a Masonic lodge website in the state of Louisiana, U.S.A. While Billy Graham vehemently denied this claim, there are those people who insist that he was simply lying, and trying to cover his tracks. Even today.
If there is any truth to this matter -- and I honestly don't know that there is -- it is indeed deplorable; because the Reverend Graham was supposed to be a representative of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. While I personally do not know very much about the Freemasons, from what I have read, as well as from what I have been told by a few other people who either participated in this organization at one time, or who knew other individuals who did, there are some very sinister beliefs and practices which are associated with Freemasonry, which are very non-Christian in nature. In fact, I discuss the Freemasons in a four-part series called "Freemasonry and the Danger of a One World Religion", if you wish to read it.
So again, if there is any truth to this charge concerning the Reverend Graham having been a high-level member of this evil organization, it is indeed sad; because many people worldwide placed their utmost trust in his words as a representative of Jesus Christ. If he really was a thirty-third degree Mason, despite his own denial of the same, then no doubt he will be held accountable for his dishonesty. After all, as the Lord, the Apostle Paul and other writers inform us, we will all give an account for ourselves and our actions when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, as we can determine by the following set of verses:
"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
Ecclesiastes 12:14, KJV
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
Matthew 12:36, KJV
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . . Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
Matthew 25:31-34, 41, KJV
"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
John 5:28-29, KJV
"But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Romans 14:10-12, KJV
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:10, KJV
"Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead . . . For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
1 Peter 4:4-5, 17, KJV
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Revelation 20:11-13, KJV
Let me reiterate again that, personally, I don't know with any degree of certainty that the Reverend Graham was really associated with the Freemasons. For all I know, that could have been just another of so many Internet rumors which are used to discredit people, and to destroy their reputations and their lives on the web. I have warned many times before that the Internet is quite the rumor mill, and should be used with great caution and wisdom.
As my regular readers will know, I try not to make it a habit of judging or criticizing fellow Christian evangelists. As I already mentioned, normally, I do not even pay attention to any of them. They each have their ministries, and I have mine as well. Thus, I strive to mind my own business, and to just keep busy doing what the Lord has given me to do. However, when the Lord does see fit to put a certain situation before me -- such as when a brother or sister asks me "What do you think of so-and-so?" -- I believe that it must be for a good reason. Thus, if I do know something about said evangelist which does not appear right, I feel obligated by my personal conviction to uphold the Truth of God's Word, to expose the lie, delusion or false doctrine that is being propagated by that preacher.
Allow me to make clear that when the Lord does move me in that direction, my primary goal is to expose the doctrinal error which I believe is leading the Lord's precious sheep astray. That alone is my priority. It is not to attack the person who is espousing the erroneous belief. I see enough of that online as it is. As I point out in articles such as "Humility in Our Understanding of God's Word", none of us -- myself included -- possesses a perfect understanding of God's Word. We are all striving on a regular basis -- or at least we should be striving -- to obtain a more perfect understanding, as we endeavor to reach the unity which the Apostle Paul mentions in the following set of verses:
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all SPEAK THE SAME THING, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you; but that ye be PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER in the SAME MIND and in the same judgment."
1 Corinthians 1:10, KJV
"That ye may with ONE MIND and ONE MOUTH glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15:6, KJV
"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of ONE MIND, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
2 Corinthians 13:11, KJV
"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in ONE SPIRIT, with ONE MIND striving together for the faith of the gospel;"
Philippians 1:27, KJV
"Fulfil ye my joy, THAT YE BE LIKEMINDED, having the same love, being of ONE ACCORD, of ONE MIND."
Philippians 2:2, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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